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Date: 30 May 2013 Time: 2.00-3:00 pm

Venue: FASS Meeting Room 3

UCREL Corpus Research Seminar

"To any count, to all counts, to what is man": finding patterns of gender in Early Modern plays

Heather Froehlich (University of Strathclyde)

The statistical computation of possible collocates creates a distance view of the Shakespeare corpus as a whole. To produce a close reading of these examples in context, I use various digital tools including WordHoard, AntConc, Open Source Shakespeare, the Oxford English Dictionary and Historical Thesaurus of the OED to create a cross-section of gender. In this paper I select highly prototypically gendered nouns which illustrate high, neutral, and low formality: lord/lady, man/woman, knave/wench. These specific nouns have been culled from both intuition and representative collocational patterns in Shakespeare while remaining illustrative of highly prototypical titles and social roles relevant to the early modern period.

I aim to identify some salient patterns of gender representation across a model corpus of Early Modern Drama by highlighting a number of collocational patterns which construct both gender and formality in the Shakespeare corpus. I hypothesize that formality levels will be consistently represented in relationship to female characters rather than male characters, but from this process I ultimately suggest that a formality distinction is closely tied to femininity, rather than masculinity, in Shakespeare.

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Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Computing and Communications, Linguistics and English Language, University Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language (UCREL)


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Graduate School, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
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United Kingdom

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